Roadburn Festival - Day 1: The Crushing

Event: Roadburn Festival 2014
Written by: Apothecary
Published: 30.04.2014

Galleries:

Roadburn 2014, Afterburner by Apothecary (39)
Roadburn 2014, Day 3 by Apothecary (41)
Roadburn 2014, Day 2 by Apothecary (39)
Roadburn 2014, Day 1 by Apothecary (46)
The event I had been preparing a year for had finally come. Dreary-eyed and jet lagged, I arrived in Utrecht from Amsterdam early on the morning of April 9th, ready to harass a veteran Dutchman for a week and enjoy what would likely go down in my mental notebook as one of the experiences of a lifetime. Joined later by a tiny Chilean and his sister, our band of four spent the pre-festival day with good food, drink, and vinyl spinning at Marcel's place, with some other occurrences taking place that'll likely remain behind closed doors. Ready for four days of sonic assault and merchandise binging, I roused the next day ready to have my soul devoured, and I had no idea what a ride I was in for. This four part review may come as a little belated, as there are already plenty of pics and reviews up elsewhere, but screw it. You haven't heard the tale of Roadburn Festival until you've heard it from Apothecary. So grab a drink, some good tunes, your roommate's last frozen pizza that you weren't supposed to eat, and begin the journey with me!




BRUTUS

The festival officially began for me with Brutus, a Norwegian stoner/hard rock five piece. I had listened to them a lot before the festival, and they were definitely one of the best discoveries I got from digging deep into the lineup. While Rodrigo and his sister were seeing Locrian, and Marcel was d̶o̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶g̶o̶d̶ ̶k̶n̶o̶w̶s̶ ̶w̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶ drinking, I was grooving out with these guys. The music Brutus lay down may not be entirely original, but they certainly play it well. It definitely gives off a really bluesy, old-time vibe, good drinking music, which went well with the Jupiler I was sipping. The vocalist was drinking almost every moment he wasn't singing, and doing some wiggly boogies to accompany, which was really fun to watch. Brutus played songs mostly from their self-titled album, which made the performance even more fun for me, because since I had listened to it a lot before the festival, I was intimately familiar with most of their set. The small size of the Green Room had a particularly nice acoustic for their thundering, riff-heavy sound. Dosed up on some good, groovy jams, I met back up with the siblings during the last ten minutes of the set, and we headed on over to the Cul De Sac.






SEIROM

This was definitely one of my most-anticipated performances of the entire festival, and the fact that it was on the first day just made it even better. The fact that I was seeing Mories de Jong, the mastermind behind Cloak Of Altering, Gnaw Their Tongues, and (my personal favorite) Aderlating was almost surreal. But this wasn't him assaulting our senses with black metal and noise-induced hysteria, but rather caressing our souls with his bright, uplifting, and beautiful Seirom project, a far cry from his other four. He had his little desktop setup, playing the ambient effects as he played guitar, as well as some awesome visuals in the background that showed various scenes of nature: forests, bears, a praying mantis, etc. It was all very otherworldy and transcendent, and I went through a good chunk of the set with my eyes closed in meditation. After the performance, I got a pic with Mories and talked a bit with him about why Seirom is so radically different than his other projects. He explained that the COA and GTT songwriting really emotionally drains him after a while, and that he needed something more positive to release some of that weariness that builds up over time. After shooting the shit for a while with an idol, I made it over to the main stage for what was truly a unique, one-time-only performance.






NAPALM DEATH

When Napalm Death were originally announced for Roadburn, a lot of people shook their heads. How could these violent grindcore veterans fit in with the more laid back atmosphere of the festival? The answer lied in the fact that they were playing a special set, made specifically for the occasion, of their slower songs. They kicked off with an interesting fusion of "Harmony Corruption," "Contemptuous," and "Evolved As One," and right away I knew I was in for quite the peculiar experience. Barney and company delivered the goods as usual, but what really made the performance were the background visuals. In black and white, they were trippy representations of many of the band's sociopolitical themes: a brain being grabbed by a mechanical hand, a one-eyed man in a suit, and so forth. I had seen Napalm Death once before in Miami, so I knew what kind of ruckus they could bring onstage, and this set was an amazing contrast, that immediately silenced any naysayers thinking they couldn't pull it off, and left me wanting more. After this mindblowing experience, I had some time to kill, so I hung around, bought some merch, some good food, and then headed over to the Cul De Sac once again for Ortega.






ORTEGA

I honestly didn't check out as much as I should have from these guys before the festival, so I really didn't entirely know what to expect. The tiny pub was packed for these Dutch natives, and, as I was for Seirom, I was right in front of the stage. The music of Ortega is doom, but a more relaxed, atmospheric brand, not entirely the hard-hitting heaviness you'd typically expect of the genre. This was definitely a nice come down after the sonic rape that was Napalm Death's set, and I spent a lot the portion of the set that I watched feeling like I was floating on a cloud. But it also disappointed me in some respects. Although I can certainly appreciate their style, Ortega's general lack of heavy riffs and pulsing grooves left me longing for some. Fortunately, the next band on my list satisfied that wanting.






CONAN

I had to leave early with Ortega for the mighty Conan in the Het Patronaat, but I seriously underestimated how big a crowd they would draw. Even getting there 20 minutes before set time, the place was already packed to the brim, and I had to use my time-honed skills of audience maneuvering to get a spot near the stage, a bit off to the left. Put simply, Jon Davis and company annihilated. Up near the giant stage left speaker, I could feel the bass rattiling in my bones, which was exactly what I needed after Ortega. The music was a little louder than Davis's vocals unfortunately, but he was still fairly audible. The band mixed up songs from their debut and the recent Blood Eagle (more of the latter) for what was an absolutely crushing set. The simplicity of the music certainly does not make it lag. Conan make the "less is more" idea work both in the studio and onstage, and it packs quite the potent punch in both instances. My neck definitely hurt after this one, but it was in for even more.






THE GREAT OLD ONES

Another of my most-anticipated bands, The Great Old Ones were crammed into the tiny Stage01, adjacent from the Green Room, and they drew a small, but dedicated crowd. Having greatly enjoyed both Al Azif and the recent Tekeli-Li, I was really looking forwarad to some French black metal goodness. They were really no different live than they are on album, and it's difficult to say exactly which is better. Pummeling BM riffs, some more relaxed moments of melody and spoken word, and great attention to lighting all combined for one hell of a set. This one was a total banger, and it's a miracle my neck didn't snap off afterwards. The only complaint here was that the band's use of smoke machines got to be a bit much after a while, causing Marcel, who was initially front and center with me, to ditch about 15 minutes in for a spot a little further back. (*Also, an official photographer snapped a few shots of me during this set, if anyone who knows what I look like has seen em, please send my way).






BONG

Who to see last for the day was a conflict between Bong and Graves At Sea, as the two sets were almost simultaneous. I had intially settled on the latter, but The Great Old Ones set had worn me out so much that afterwards I just wanted to sit down in the stair area of the main stage and relax with some drone masters. I thanked myself for the decision later. Bong live is an experience that truly has to be seen to be believed. While the other members were going, Benjamin Freeth sat down with his sitar and strummed along, and the whole experience was mesmerizing. The fact that the guys didn't pause for a single second, and just played straight for about an hour, also speaks to their stamina and commitment to their craft. I meditated for a good chunk of the set, to great effect. After ten hours of stuffing my face and getting crushed by Napalm Death, Conan, and The Great Old Ones, this was the perfect ending to the day. My group and I had to take a taxi back, as there were no buses running by the time of the festival's end, and I passed out almost immediately upon hitting my bed, dreaming of what was to go down over the next three days.






Highlights of Day 1: Talking to Mories, Napalm Death's set, Conan destroying the Het Patronaat, meditating to Bong, and the glory that is Roadburn fish and chips.
Stay tuned for Day 2, and check out the Day 1 Gallery in the meantime

*As a note of hindsight: this four day review was meant to be a collab between myself and Rod, but as my brain was a bit scrambled last night, I forgot. He's going to post some reviews in the comments here, and the coming Day 2-4 articles will be a joint effort.


 



Written on 30.04.2014 by
Apothecary
Your friend the witch doctor.
More articles by Apothecary ››




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!J.O.O.E.! - 30.04.2014 at 16:03  
That Napalm Death background art looks pretty damn rad.
Apothecary - 30.04.2014 at 16:12  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 30.04.2014 at 16:03

That Napalm Death background art looks pretty damn rad.

It was quite sick indeed, by far my favorite visuals of the fest
!J.O.O.E.! - 30.04.2014 at 16:13  
Written by Apothecary on 30.04.2014 at 16:12

It was quite sick indeed, by far my favorite visuals of the fest

Did they sell any prints of it? I'm sure I remember Marcel or Rod buying prints of the visuals of Voivod, I think.
Apothecary - 30.04.2014 at 16:14  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 30.04.2014 at 16:13

Did they sell any prints of it? I'm sure I remember Marcel or Rod buying prints of the visuals of Voivod, I think.

Not that I know of. They did have that Our Pain Is Their Power compilation, of all the songs they played in their set, but I didn't get it.
Mr. Doctor - 30.04.2014 at 16:20  
BITCH YOU DIDN'T TELL ME ARGH.
Apothecary - 30.04.2014 at 16:29  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 30.04.2014 at 16:20

BITCH YOU DIDN'T TELL ME ARGH.

Totally forgot man, sorry, brain was a little scrambled last night after my day. We can definitely team up for the next ones
Bad English - 30.04.2014 at 16:29  
How well you did handle beers whit Marcel dude?
Apothecary - 30.04.2014 at 16:34  
Written by Bad English on 30.04.2014 at 16:29

How well you did handle beers whit Marcel dude?

Really wasn't all that bad, the Wednesday before the fest we all went to a bar and I had four glasses of this "Croat" (if I remember the name correctly) shit that was really tasty. Beer's easy to handle for me, it was no big deal. I also bought a bottle of coconut rum that Wednesday too and filled a little flask that I snuck in everyday with it, but other than that I didn't really have any liquor.
Alex Fenger - 30.04.2014 at 16:34  
Sounds like it was bitchin. Would have killed to see a few of these bands live
Apothecary - 30.04.2014 at 16:47  
Written by Alex Fenger on 30.04.2014 at 16:34

Sounds like it was bitchin. Would have killed to see a few of these bands live

It was definitely kind of unbelievable man. When I originally signed up on here, I had no idea that four years later I'd be a Staffer and going overseas for this amazingness.
ANGEL REAPER - 01.05.2014 at 02:06  
The tittle was misleading .for second i thought you took one for the team!
Apothecary - 01.05.2014 at 02:22  
Written by ANGEL REAPER on 01.05.2014 at 02:06

The tittle was misleading .for second i thought you took one for the team!

Was it really? Lol Roadburn's a metal festival, and it was my first time attending it, soooo....
ANGEL REAPER - 01.05.2014 at 09:23  
Written by Apothecary on 01.05.2014 at 02:22

Written by ANGEL REAPER on 01.05.2014 at 02:06

The tittle was misleading .for second i thought you took one for the team!

Was it really? Lol Roadburn's a metal festival, and it was my first time attending it, soooo....

shit,i thought you lost your virginity on Roadburn ...anyway i had it all different going on in my mind ...
Apothecary - 01.05.2014 at 14:34  
Written by ANGEL REAPER on 01.05.2014 at 09:23

shit,i thought you lost your virginity on Roadburn

Try seven years ago, buddy
ANGEL REAPER - 01.05.2014 at 15:03  
Written by Apothecary on 01.05.2014 at 14:34

Written by ANGEL REAPER on 01.05.2014 at 09:23

shit,i thought you lost your virginity on Roadburn

Try seven years ago, buddy

like i said i had that all different in my mind
ANGEL REAPER - 02.05.2014 at 15:19  
So why have you changed the tittle ?
Apothecary - 02.05.2014 at 16:22  
Written by ANGEL REAPER on 02.05.2014 at 15:19

So why have you changed the tittle ?

This was originally meant to be a collaborative set of reviews between me and Rodrigo (Mr. Doctor), as we were both there, I was just a little overexcited about writing them, and my brain was kinda scrambled on the night I did this, so I forgot. Since Rod reminded me though, the next three are gonna be joint efforts between us. So I can't really have MY in the title anymore if it's the two of us doing it, ya dig?
ANGEL REAPER - 02.05.2014 at 21:05  
Written by Apothecary on 02.05.2014 at 16:22

Written by ANGEL REAPER on 02.05.2014 at 15:19

So why have you changed the tittle ?

This was originally meant to be a collaborative set of reviews between me and Rodrigo (Mr. Doctor), as we were both there, I was just a little overexcited about writing them, and my brain was kinda scrambled on the night I did this, so I forgot. Since Rod reminded me though, the next three are gonna be joint efforts between us. So I can't really have MY in the title anymore if it's the two of us doing it, ya dig?

no i just thought you changed it under pressure of comments
Apothecary - 02.05.2014 at 21:11  
Written by ANGEL REAPER on 02.05.2014 at 21:05

no i just thought you changed it under pressure of comments

"MY" implies the individual, and these are no longer going to be individual articles. Now I could've changed it to "Losing OUR Roadburn Virginity," but it wasn't Rod's first time there, so that's a no. Now I think the format will just be Roadburn Festival - Day #: (a subtitle relating to what the day felt like).
ANGEL REAPER - 02.05.2014 at 21:25  
Written by Apothecary on 02.05.2014 at 21:11

Written by ANGEL REAPER on 02.05.2014 at 21:05

no i just thought you changed it under pressure of comments

"MY" implies the individual, and these are no longer going to be individual articles. Now I could've changed it to "Losing OUR Roadburn Virginity," but it wasn't Rod's first time there, so that's a no. Now I think the format will just be Roadburn Festival - Day #: (a subtitle relating to what the day felt like).

also "Losing OUR Roadburn Virginity" would be kinda worse...ya're right this is better
Deadsoulman - 03.05.2014 at 22:37  
I am so fucking jealous. Roadburn 2012 was by far one the best festival/concert experience I ever had and I'm so pissed off I haven't been able to get there again. Ah well, I'll make sure to wreck Motel Hubregtse again in the years to come...
Ozman - 03.05.2014 at 22:49  
Written by Deadsoulman on 03.05.2014 at 22:37

I am so fucking jealous. Roadburn 2012 was by far one the best festival/concert experience I ever had and I'm so pissed off I haven't been able to get there again. Ah well, I'll make sure to wreck Motel Hubregtse again in the years to come...


You're always welcome, also for Dutch Doom Days, btw.
Mr. Doctor - 04.05.2014 at 16:20  
One day I just have to attend DDD...
Apothecary - 04.05.2014 at 16:24  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 04.05.2014 at 16:20

One day I just have to attend DDD...

Ehhh, I think MDF or Hellfest is next on my list. Still want to do Roadburn next year as well, though, I really don't think I'd be able to afford both

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